If the Ohio Department of Commerce accepts the medical marijuana program rules as written, it would mean that grow licenses would be among the priciest in the country. Only 18 grow licenses would be issued: twelve Level I and six Level II licenses.
Level I licenses would cost $200,000 (a $20,000 application fee and $180,000 license fee), while Level II licenses would cost $20,000 (a $2,000 application fee and $18,000 licensing fee), according to Cleveland.com. A level I license is for a grow space that is 15,000 sq. ft. or less. A level II license is for grow spaces 1,600 sq. ft. or less.
The commerce department isn’t expected to allow for additional grow operations until at least September 9, 2018, the date required for the medical marijuana program to be fully operational.
The application process includes:
- Financial information – proving at least $500,000 in liquid assets for Level I licensing and $50,000 in liquid assets for a Level II license.
- Security plans
- Operations details – including strains to be grown and what fertilizers/pesticides would be used
- Escrow account creation – with $2 million balance for Level I licenses and $200,000 for Level II licenses acting as surety bonds
The full set of rules for the Ohio medical marijuana program will be posted to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Program website for public commentary. Department Director Jacqueline Williams claims that Ohio’s rules were set following advice from industry experts and program regulations in other medical marijuana legal states.
She said, “Our goal is to develop a program that ensures the safety of the public and ensures access to safe medical products.”
If a doctor recommends marijuana to an adult age 21 or older in Ohio, they would be permitted to purchase and use marijuana.
If Ohio’s rules are approved as written, only New York and Illinois would cost more to obtain licensing than Ohio. Pennsylvania’s cultivator licenses for medical marijuana are on par with Ohio’s costs.
Ohio’s medical marijuana rules must be established by May 2017 for cultivation and by September 2017 for dispensaries, testing labs and processors.